Archive for the ‘Apple’ Category

Review: Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon takes on Mac OS X Leopard for the OS of the Year Part 1

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

A 2 Part cage match between the Gutsy Gibbon and the Macintosh Leopard: Who will win? This is an in depth article about how the two Operating systems compare. I personally have not used Leopard but I have tried it out on a demo computer at the store. It is very cool. I have used Ubuntu since June of 2006 and have liked it a lot. source from http://www.linux-mag.com/id/4641/

Hardware:

 

Ubuntu will run on pretty much any computer with an Intel-compatible or PowerPC CPU. The distro claims that you need a bare minimum of 256MB of RAM, but expect glacial performance. In reality, you’ll want at least 512MB of RAM, with 1GB even better. You’re told to expect that the OS will take up about 4GB of space on your hard drive, which is nothing in terms of today’s ginormous hard drives.

All Spelling mistakes from the indented text are from the original article

Yes Ubuntu will run on the minimum but will be very slow. I have it running on a Laptop with an AMD Turion TL-50 processor, 1 GB of RAM, 80 GB hard drive, and a Nvidia geforce go 6150 graphics card.

You install Leopard on Apple’s boxes, or you buy a new Mac, and it comes with Leopard pre-installed. That’s it. According to Apple, you can install Leopard on any Intel-based Mac, as well as any PowerPC G5 or G4 box, as long as it has a 867 MHz or faster CPU. You’ll need at least 512MB of RAM, a DVD drive for the installation disc, and 9GB for the OS.

Well there is a hack that you can do to have your PC that has an Intel CPUs’ run Leopard.

Ease of Use:

From the usability standpoint Linux’s greatest strength, choice, is also its weakness. Ubuntu is no exception. With two major desktop environments, KDE and GNOME, that look and act much differently, along with different window managers, and with the whole shebang sitting atop X11, and Compiz if your video card supports it there’s a lot of room for variation. When it comes to apps, Ubuntu tries hard to simplify matters, but users still face an astounding array of choices.

On the one hand, this is great– you can pick the exact app and appearance that suits your needs and desires best. On the other hand, this can really confuse the heck out of users new to Linux. Not to mention, simple things like different Open and Save dialog boxes, depending upon whether you’re using a KDE or GNOME app, can prove to be annoying and deadening in terms of usability.

Well to me choice is the best part of the whole Linux OS.

The Mac, on the other hand, is just the opposite. Apple has invested millions of dollars and man hours to ensure that its usability is, overall, the best in the business with a few major missteps, which I’ll cover shortly. Its look and feel is unified throughout Leopard, including even the programs that come bundled with the OS. This uniformity means that everything acts the same way– open one app’s Open or Save dialog box, for instance, and you now know how virtually every single Open or Save dialog box will work. Grok the unified menubar, and you just absorbed how every Mac app works.

The problem comes if you don’t like the way Apple decided to do something. Too bad, bud. It’s Apple’s way or the highway. Case in point: the new translucent menu bar. It’s awful. Someone inside Apple thinks it’s a great idea, though, so that’s what we get. But here’s the kicker: there’s no exposed way to turn off the translucency and go back to an opaque menu bar. Three weeks after Leopard’s release someone figured out how to change the opacity of the menu bar by using an arcane command in the terminal. So while there are usually ways to” fix” things the way you’d like them, don’t always expect Apple to make it easy to do so. It’s a good thing that the majority of Apple’s UI decisions are excellent, thoughtful choices that make the Mac a productive joy to use.

But not always. For instance, Leopard introduced a new, reflective Dock that many people find ugly. Again, after some searching, users figured out a command that gets rid of the ugly and goes back to an easier-to-view 2D look. Or take Stacks. In previous versions of Mac OS X, you could drag a folder to the Dock and then right-click on it to access a hierarchical menu of the folder’s contents. In Leopard, that isn’t even an option. Apple instead calls folders on your Dock Stacks. Right-clicking on a Stack produces a contextual menu instead of the contents of the folder; to view the folder’s contents, left-click on the folder.

However, left-clicking shows you the contents either as a fan that leans to the right or a grid of about 30 or so items. More than that, and you have to open the Finder, thus negating the whole point of clicking on the Stack in the first place. Once again, users have solved the problem with third-party apps that restore pre-Leopard functionality. It’s just too bad that Apple doesn’t give users more options in cases like these.

But, keep in mind, the fact that I’m reduced to complaining about the opacity of a menubar and related items should tell you how good the Mac UI really is.

Wow I thought Windows could be the one Operating System that has the least customization.

However, I’m not going to let Ubuntu get off scott free. It still needs to fix many ease of use issues. The difference is, however, that since Ubuntu is open source, it’s usually a bit easier to fix the problems. Usually, but not always. Let’s talk specifics.

One problem that affects both KDE and GNOME has to do with how programs are launched. Ubuntu uses the default GNOME and KDE menus to start programs, access control panel applets, and manage other system functions. These don’t seem too bad until you check out what openSUSE has done to the K menu and the GNOME panels. The openSUSE K menu offers five tabs– Favorites, Applications, Computer, History, and Leave– that logically divide the functions one would want from a computer’s” Start” menu. In the case of GNOME, openSUSE does away with the confusing mish-mash of a top and bottom panel (Really, does any new user see the logic in that? Does any advanced user?) for a unified bottom panel, with a single Computer menu that provides access to Applications, Documents, and Places. This is far more logical, usable, and daring than the alternatives, and Ubuntu should be willing to adopt such measures when it makes sense, and lead by coming up with its own innovative ideas when necessary.

Kubuntu has its own share of UI disasters, most of them due to rushing things into the distro while they’re only half-baked. Not nearly powerful enough for experienced users (where are the tabs?), and too buggy for newbies, the Dolphin File Manager is simply not ready for prime time, and is currently a mess that needs some serious attention before its proper unveiling in KDE 4. Desktop Search is a necessity in today’s operating systems, and no incarnation in any Linux distro has yet to match the power, speed, and accuracy of Spotlight as it is now seen in Leopard. Seen in that light, the Strigi Desktop Search found in Kubuntu is just an ineffective toy. One day it might be ready, but it’s not now, and it should never have been added to Gutsy Gibbon.

Tracker, found in Ubuntu, is much better, and is good enough to use on a day-to-day basis. Additional functionality is needed- sort results by date, for instance- but overall it’s usable and accurate.

Linux has come a long way when it comes to ease of use, and it’s definitely getting better all the time, but overall Leopard is still ahead of Ubuntu (and both are way ahead of Vista). Apple makes mistakes, but overall its system is more logical, simple, consistent, and unified than Ubuntu, which still has too many elements that are overly complex, inconsistent, and fractured.

Really Ubuntu has some work to do but really it is the best Linux Operating System in the Linux World.

Applications

Of course, what people really like to look at– and play with– are the applications that come with an operating system. Let me say again, both Leopard and Ubuntu blow Vista away when it comes to the default programs they each provide. Let’s split things up into the kinds of programs the LM audience looks for in an OS, and see what Leopard and Ubuntu each provides. This is a general list, so don’t look for the obscure program that you and ten other people use. We’re talking general nerd usage here.

Of course Ubuntu and Leopard blow the whole windows OS out of the water because people are not forced to make application for it though they can do it if they want to. That way Developers if they do want to make 3 different sets of apps could use all 3 OS’s but that would cost a lot of money.

File management.

GNOME uses Nautilus, KDE uses Dolphin (although Konqueror still works), and Leopard uses the Finder. Nautilus has gotten better over the years, and Ubuntu stripped out the ridiculous spatial defaults, so it’s actually quite usable for managing files. I’ve already complained about Dolphin, but at least Konqueror is still available. Konqueror provides a maximum set of features, and does the job beautifully. Its KIO support for an immense variety of protocols is nothing short of astounding, so you can browse all kinds of remote filesystems with Konq.

Linux is great for Files as just like both Leopard and Vista you can search for them from all over the desktop.

Leopard’s Finder works well, and while the NeXT-based column views are extremely useful, the new Cover Flow views that let you slide through previews of your pictures, text files, and movies is something that will make you wonder how you lived without it. But the lack of tabs means that I’m often left wishing that Konqueror was available for Leopard.

Leopards Coverflow looks to me just like Vistas’ page view at the bottom of the screen when you hover it over the taskbar menu.

That is the end of Part 1 please come back tomorrow for the next part in this series.

2007/10/18 Apple Adds Memory Randomization To Leopard

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

Here is a great story from Slashdot.org:

IT: Apple Adds Memory Randomization To Leopard

Posted by kdawson on Thursday October 18, @08:37AM
from the shuffling-the-wormholes dept.

Security

.mack notes a ZDNet blog outlining some of the security features added to OSX Leopard (10.5). Here’s Apple’s brief description of all 11 new security features. “Apple has announced plans to add code-scrambling diversity to Mac OS X Leopard, a move aimed at making the operating system more resilient to virus and worm attacks. The security technology, known as ASLR (address space layout randomization), randomly arranges the positions of key data areas to prevent malware authors from predicting target addresses. Another new feature coming in Leopard is Sandboxing (systrace), which limits an application’s access to the system by enforcing access policies for system calls.”

2007/09/17 Hardware: New iPod Checksum Cracked, Linux Supported

Monday, September 17th, 2007

Great News for all the Linux Users that want an Ipod Classic, Ipod Touch, Ipod Shuffle or Ipod Nano 3g. From Slashdot.org:

Hardware: New iPod Checksum Cracked, Linux Supported

Posted by CmdrTaco on Monday September 17, @10:08AM
from the well-that-didn’t-take-long dept.


An anonymous reader writes “After 36 hours of reverse engineering, the method for producing the checksum on new iPods has been discovered.” You can also get linux support working if that’s what you crave for your shiny new toy.

 Heres’ to People looking out for Linux Users!

 

2007/07/31 Slashdot: A Majority of Businesses Will Not Move to Vista

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

Here is the story from Slashdot IT:

  oDDmON oUT writes “An article on the Computerworld site quotes polling results from a potentially-divisive PatchLink survey. The poll shows that the majority of enterprise customers feel there are no compelling security enhancements in Windows Vista, that they have no plans to migrate to it in the near term and that many will ‘either stick with the Windows they have, or turn to Linux or Mac OS X’. A majority, 87%, said they would stay with their existing version of Windows. This comes on the heels of a dissenting view of Vista’s track record in the area of security at the six month mark, which sparked a heated discussion on numerous forums.”

Here is the full story:

Businesses having second thoughts about Vista

Fewer now believe it’s more secure than XP, says new survey

July 30, 2007 (Computerworld) — Fewer businesses are now planning to move to Windows Vista than seven months ago, according to a survey by patch management vendor PatchLink Corp., while more said they will either stick with the Windows they have, or turn to Linux or Mac OS X.

In a just-released poll of more than 250 of its clients, PatchLink noted that only 2% said they are already running Vista, while another 9% said they planned to roll out Vista in the next three months. A landslide majority, 87%, said they would stay with their existing version(s) of Windows.

Those numbers contrasted with a similar survey the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based vendor published in December 2006. At the time, 43% said they had plans to move to Vista while just 53% planned to keep what Windows they had.

Today’s hesitation also runs counter to what companies thought they would do as of late last year. In PatchLink’s December poll, 28% said they would deploy Vista within the first year of its release. But by the results of the latest survey, fewer than half as many — just 11% — will have opted for the next-generation operating system by Nov. 1.

Their change of heart may be because of a changed perception of Vista’s security skills. Seven months ago — within weeks of Vista’s official launch to business, but before the operating system started selling in retail — 50% of the CIOs, CSOs, IT and network administrators surveyed by PatchLink said they believe Vista to be more secure than Windows XP. The poll put the security skeptical at 15% and pegged those who weren’t sure yet at 35%.

Today, said PatchLink, only 28% agreed that Vista is more secure than XP. Meanwhile, the no votes increased to 24% and the unsure climbed to 49%.

Reconsiderations about Vista have given rival operating systems a second chance at breaking into corporations. Last year, Linux and Max OS X had only meager appeal to the CIOs, CSOs, IT and network administrators surveyed: 2% said they planned to deploy the open-source Linux, while none owned up to Mac OS X plans. July’s survey, however, noted a six-fold increase in the total willing to do without Windows on at least some systems: 8% of those polled acknowledged Linux plans and 4% said they would deploy Mac OS X.

PatchLink’s survey results fit with research firms’ continued forecasts that corporate deployment of Vista won’t seriously begin until early next year.

Although Microsoft recently announced it had shipped 60 million copies of Vista so far, it has declined to specify how many buyers are businesses, or even what percentage of the estimated 42 million PCs covered by corporate license agreements have actually upgraded to Vista.

The poll also offered evidence that corporations are even more afraid of zero-day vulnerabilities — bugs still unpatched when they’re made public or used in exploits — than they were last year.

Zero-day vulnerabilities are the top security concern for the majority of IT professionals, according to the survey, with 53% of those polled ranking it as a major worry. In the December 2006 survey, only 29% of the administrators pegged zero-days as their top problem.

“The prospect of zero-day attacks is extremely troubling for organizations of all sizes,” said Charles Kolodgy, an IDC research director, in a statement accompanying the survey. “Today’s financially motivated attackers are creating customized, sophisticated malware designed to exploit unpublished application vulnerabilities in specific applications before they can be fixed.”

This is a good story, I think.

Ryan Orser

2007/07/30 Microsoft FUD Watch!

Monday, July 30th, 2007

Well here is something that it seems to go on and on. Slashdot’s story of Microsoft FUD Watch:

rs232 writes “Not a week goes by when Microsoft doesn’t manufacture a little fear, uncertainty and doubt about something. Yesterday’s financial analyst conference was full of it … Our approach is simple: We look at who said what and why it’s FUD. Lots of companies engage in FUD, and we only single out Microsoft because we’re Microsoft Watch”

 Here is the Story on eweek Microsoft Watch:

 

Microsoft FUD Watch, 6-27-07

 

 Not a week goes by when Microsoft doesn’t manufacture a little fear, uncertainty and doubt about something. Yesterday’s financial analyst conference was full of it.

FUD Watch will be an ongoing addition to our blogging, this time delivered in simple post format. Some future FUD Watch updates could come in podcast or slide show format.

Our approach is simple: We look at who said what and why it’s FUD. Lots of companies engage in FUD, and we only single out Microsoft because we’re Microsoft Watch.

Ray Ozzie, chief software architect

What he said:

“We are the only company in the industry that has the breadth of reach from consumer to enterprises to understand and deliver and to take full advantage of the services opportunity in all of these markets. I believe we’re the only company with the platform DNA that’s necessarily to viably deliver this highly leveragable platform approach to services. And we’re certainly one of the few companies that has the financial capacity to capitalize on this sea change, this services transformation.”

Why is it FUD?
Ozzie spoke about Microsoft’s services strategy at last year’s financial analysts conference, too. Talk, talk, talk. Promises, promises. Microsoft hasn’t yet delivered one piece of its so-called services strategy. The boasting, coupled with yesterday’s presentation on the services framework, is a good way of making Microsoft out to be doing much more than it really is; right now that’s not much, because nothing new is on the market. Meanwhile, Google continues to make huge advertising and search gains. Microsoft is notorious for talking about what it’s going to do some day. Hey, what about today?

Robbie Bach, president, Entertainment & Devices division

What he said:

“What we find in the phone market is that people do want choice, because they use their phone for different things. Some people want an entertainment phone. Some people want a text-messaging e-mail phone. Some people want a phone where it’s easy to dial. People want different sets of capabilities, and a bunch of people want a full QWERTY keyboard. And so we have to be able to provide the operating system to the operators and to the handset manufacturers that delivers that diversity.”

Why is it FUD?
“Choice” is a code word for “choice, as long as it’s on a Microsoft platform.” When iPod sales started to skyrocket, Microsoft responded with a FUD campaign about choice—how many different devices and music services used Windows Media technologies. Microsoft clearly is cueing up for a choice FUD campaign against the iPhone. Regarding the iPhone, Microsoft delivers a two-FUD punch about choice and cost, dismissing, as CEO Steve Ballmer has done, the iPhone because of its $500 or $600 price.

Number of choices isn’t the same as what you choose. Remember those old Starkist commercials with Charlie the Tuna, where he had good taste but that didn’t mean he would taste good? Choices aren’t necessarily the same as choice. Tens of millions of people chose the iPod. In mobiles, the majority already has made its choice: Symbian OS-based cell phones. That said, lots of U.S. folks have chosen the iPhone—270,000 units in the first two days of sales.

Jeff Raikes, president, Business division

What he said:

“Historically, our [Enterprise Agreement] renewal rates have been about 2/3 to 3/4. And I know many of you wonder, well, with customers already licensed for the 2007 Office system, were they going to renew their Enterprise Agreement? We were very, very excited to see that because of the strength of our road map, the future that they see in what we’re investing in the Office system, the rate was greater than 90 percent in this last quarter.”

Why is it FUD?
Analysts from Forrester and Gartner have Microsoft customer data indicating sluggish Software Assurance renewals. Microsoft hasn’t publicly commented on SA renewals. The very positive Enterprise Agreement data is a misdirection. It draws attention to an exciting trend that suggests volume licensing contract renewals are rosy. But strong EA renewals don’t necessarily mean a similar trend for Software Assurance. Can you say non sequitur?

Kevin Turner, chief operating officer

What he said:

“By our math we eclipse the entire install base of Apple in the first five weeks that this product shipped. And that’s something again—this ecosystem that I just talked about—we’re not building an ecosystem that handles four, five, six devices and five or six printers. The opportunity is 2.1 million devices and thousands and thousands of printers. And that’s the importance of getting this product to mass and scale, which we believe is a huge competitive advantage for us.”

Why is it FUD?
Apple announced record earnings the day before Turner made this statement. The company shipped a record number of Macs with year-over-year unit growth of 20 percent and 42 percent, respectively, for desktops and notebooks. Microsoft’s estimate for second-calendar-quarter PC shipment growth, which is in line with those analyst projections, was between 11 and 13 percent; Mac shipments far exceed market growth.

Microsoft appears concerned about Apple, which brand is resurgent and which has made huge strides in some areas of entertainment and communications; however, Mac OS poses no immediate threat to Windows.

As for Turner’s ding: Wal-Mart typically takes in as much money in the first quarter as Target makes in one year. Is that a reason to pick one store over the other?

Thats what we should all be doing: Watching Microsoft!